The Pint Size Snack.

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Welcome back to the school year!  And with it, the volunteer activities and necessity to pack lunches and snacks.

Enter the preschool helper.  The position of prestige in the eyes of my child.  And a good place for a parent to see their child flourish amongst others.

Along with the helper part also comes the lunch part.  (We take turns providing lunches for the classroom.)  When it comes to feeding my kids all is well and anything (or just about anything) goes.  But being a classroom of pint-sized people, many lunches have been a flop.  Some parents have resorted to bringing in delivered pizza…yet I have persevered to find something healthy AND likeable.  Not an easy feat. Especially when one of the considerations is that it is easy to prepare – remember this is a whole classroom.  And as much as crackers and cheese seems to be a lunchtime staple, the lack of nutritional fruit and vegetables kinda drives me nuts (nuts – which we are also not allowed to bring.)

Now that it is the beginning of the school year I can finally say I have found the perfect  snack, having worked at it all last year.  And usually everyone finds something they like out of it.

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Bring in the skewer!  Toddler style (or rather pre-school style) with the sharp skewer ends clipped off and a colourful display of vegetables.  This seems to be the best accepted, nutritional hit I’ve managed to conjure up.  And it’s great to have a preschool helper to prepare it!

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And speaking of conjuring…here was this weeks meal plan:

  • Chickpea Stew with Naan bread

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  • Mushroom Broccoli Quisotto (think risotto, but with quinoa!  And this dish can be fully ready in 20-30min…chopping time included!)

 

 

  • Daal with Cauliflower yogurt and Naan bread
  • Tomato Basil Pasta (with cashew cream sauce)

 

Go-Beta-Carotene!

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So what does one do when we are trying to pack in a punch of nutrition?  Get the most out of what we put in?

Try something new!

Still not sure I’m totally convinced of all the benefits. But after seeing all of what goes in, I’m happy with how I feel.  What am I referring to?  Juicing of course!

IMG_3262For the past 2 weeks I think we’ve juiced everyday.  Kale, cantaloupe, cucumbers, carrots, apples, melons, celery, ginger, oranges, mint.  You name it, we juiced it!  Another way to try and push in the iron content.  And for all us of taking iron supplements (3 out of 4 in the family) a great way to get a natural source of vitamin C to help with the absorption.

And I thought I didn’t like parsley.

Turns out all I had to do was drink it.

Direct from the garden - KALE!

Direct from the garden – KALE!

Now don’t misunderstand.  This is still juice.  I am not a regular juice drinker, or advocate.  I use this as supplementation to me and my family’s dietary needs.  Most of the juices are vegetable based (less carbs and sugars) and all are either focused on our need for vitamin C (to help us absorb iron supplements) or iron nutrients (like in the kale and parsley.)  We drink one cup a day (less for the kids).  And it is great!

Also made Costco shopping fun.  12lbs of carrots, a box of oranges, a ridiculous bag of apples (heavier than my son), and a ton of cucumber.  Okay so not exactly a ton of cucumber, but you get the picture.

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Being summer it also helps us to stay hydrated. As juices usually went along with snack and our usual water.

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My favourite was this morning.  I want to call it my “Go-Beta-Carotene!” 3 carrots, 3 oranges, 2 tbsp ginger, and about 1 cup pineapple.  Simple and yet so good.  Split 5 ways.  What a great start to the day. AND wow the houseguests.

Almond butter and beet juice breakfast.

Almond butter and beet juice breakfast.

That’s what I’ve been up to.  How about you?

Why juice? Read here.

Alteration.

So being dairy free means I’m missing out on all my favourite recipes that include, well, dairy.  Being the flexible girl I am (okay so I’m only sometimes flexible, like in yoga, sometimes…) I decided to try a recipe from my weekday go-to collection and alter it.  Dairy free!

Dairy free and fabulous!

Here is my take on Broccoli Pesto Pasta (dairy free). This is an adaptation from another blogger which I love.  (Find her original recipe here.)  Although it’s low on the protein side of things that’s nothing that can’t be made up for with snacks throughout the day.  Like all the hummus and peanut butter we ate finishing up the chopped raw veggies and pretzel sticks!

And here are the results of trying it out on the kids:

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As you can see it was a complete failure.  At least for having leftovers, well leftover for the following day.

And then there was the epic dessert that was to end my dairy-deprived 6 weeks.  We even had invited guests over!  This is The Ultimate Tiramisu.  It is like heaven on earth.  No, it is heaven on earth, in tiny bites that dance on your tongue like little happy fairies and make your hips wiggle just right while dancing the salsa. Or at least dancing, there is a lot of dancing and happiness involved.

Only, after purchasing all the dairy (marscapone, condensed milk, heavy whipping cream) there were no find lady fingers to be found. For those not familiar, (like many of the store clerks I asked) they are the little crunchy, flaky, air-filled sponge cookies that hold the liquor and coffee goodness in the cake. (Is tiramisu a cake? More like an experience!)  I drove around for over an hour in search of these little ladies and even used my “source of all things good in the kitchen” friend (who knows where to get anything, at anytime) with no avail.

So I took it as a sign that maybe, just maybe jumping off the wagon with both feet wasn’t such a great idea.  And since we are overflowing with peaches on sale right now, I opted for peach crumble.  The night before guests. As a consolation prize of no tiramisu.  And as it was the night before the guests, I was still dairy free.  Another alteration!

The recipe is a little bit horrific when it comes to be counting fat, and calories, and nutritional value (unless you count the peaches – yeah vitamins!) For a once in a while treat, like when those peaches go on sale in the middle of summer, when the weather isn’t too hot to turn on the oven.  It is perfection. And peaches!

IMG_3182First I sliced up about 6 very ripe peaches in a greased glass pan.  I layered the peaches sprinkling a total of 2 tsp of tapioca, squeezing a small half lemon, 2 tsp Earth Balance and 1 tsp of brown sugar.

IMG_3183Next up, making the crumble I added 1 cup oats to 1 cup brown sugar and 3/4 cup flour and mixed.  Then cut in 2/3 cup Earth Balance using two knives.

Once mixed evenly I used my hands to create “crumble”.  And put HALF on the peaches. (Freeze the other half for more peaches later!)  If you re-read the butter and sugar content you will understand me in feeling better about less crumble and more IMG_3185peaches.  Bake at 375degrees for 45min, or until nicely browned.  Then allow to cool before eating.  This is best made if you can pull it out right before dinner, then serve warm after dinner is done (I allow at least 1 hour to cool.)

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I guess a big part of me failing at the tiramisu is a life lesson that I repeat over and over (and over).  I seem to get stuck wanting something and when it doesn’t immediately happen I feel like a failure.

Failing has nothing to do with it.  You don’t fail until you actually quit.  So by quitting you fail.  And I am far from quitting.  This is so true for my yoga practice as well.  Trying to conquer handstand without a wall, and forearm scorpion.  I just keep trying over and over and over.  I’m not failing because I won’t quit.

This weekend I will go out again and look for those lady fingers.  The dairy is waiting in my fridge for the special moment when it all will come together.  And my yoga mat is calling me.  Despite falling on my face and my ego bruising in front of a class of 20, I will get there yet.  Even if I have to modify at a wall for a while, or seven years.

As for the guests that next night.  We did BBQ peaches.  Peaches. So. Good! And ice cream.  The real stuff.  Next to what was left of my non-dairy coconut ice cream.  Which I opted for, because given the choice, it didn’t seem like a big deal anymore.

 

True Story. The missing piece.

 

 

I got to my hot yoga class and set up my mat on the wonderful, radiantly warmed floor as usual.  Then proceeded to go to the back corner to get my block and strap.  Dodging all the cute university girls and hippi bearded guy before returning to the 2″x7″ long place I would call my own for the next 75mins.  I sat down in my usual virasana pose. In 95F degree heat.  And began to slow my breathing.

Many women were already stretching and posing.  Posturing even perhaps, for the shirtless frat guy who was already sweating in the warmth. Maybe they were just warming up in anticipation of the upcoming gruelling asanas that would get all our butts into shape and knock our egos back into reality.  Or maybe they were testing the weak points of newly purchased yoga clothes to ensure full coverage during twisty, bendy pretzel manoeuvres that we could practice inversions from.  Either way, the room was filled with this intense energy to go, and this feeling of silent calm that whatever road we went on, we were in it together, all 16 of us, for the next 75min.

I closed my eyes and just focused on stillness, silence.  Breathing in deeply, loving the moment.  Someone new came into the room and I opened my eyes.  Not the instructor yet.  But before returning to my inner bliss, I couldn’t take my eyes away from the top of my mat.  My strap sat there all alone.  Where was my block?  I put it there specifically, just like I always do.

I turned to the girl on my right and she had a block.  Had she swiped mine while my eyes were closed?  Seriously, whoever was too much of a lazy ass to get up and walk to the back of the room to get their own damn block was going to hear from me.

I turned to my left and although frat boy didn’t have one, with the amount of sweating he was doing I thought he probably could use one.  After all, if you already look fluish before class has even started, there is no way you can expect to hold any poses without major support. I don’t care how big your muscles are.

Two mats over that girl has a block.  Her in the hot pink sports bra and tie dye pants.  And she was upside down in headstand.  Showoff.  I mean seriously who does that shit before class starts?  Bet she thinks she’s better than the rest of us and has the need to demonstrate, in case the opportunity doesn’t arise during the actual yoga class.  Bet she stole my block too.  Besides if she thinks she’s that much better than me, then taking my block while my eyes are closed probably isn’t a stretch.

Or maybe its the guy two rows up who stole it.  He looks new and anxious.  Or the girl beside him.  My eyes scan the room and find thieves on every mat.

I shift on my mat.  Glaring at everyone around me.  Where is the thief?  And who would be so brazen and rude as to swipe another person’s block?  The room feels hot and small.  I feel angry and my breathing is fast.

Then I feel it.  My block is beneath me.  In virasana for extended periods the block takes the strain off the knees, hence why I put it there because I was 10min early.  I laugh at myself.  The utter silliness.  The anger melts away.  The girl next to me catches my eye and smiles as she reaches for her water.  I can see frat boy using his towel to mop off the sweat from his brow.  His well used, obviously aged-from-many-yoga-classes, towel.  And the girl two mats down comes out of headstand and settles into a seated pace on her mat.  I am back in the same room as I started.  Warm, inviting and energizing.

And I realize the only thing I have to work on today is my own mind.

Oh yoga, if there isn’t something new I get from it every time.  Even before the class has started.

Camping with small kids…vegetarian and dairy free

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We went away this last weekend, and camped, with kids!  Small kids.  Lots of people do this I know, but there are a few things that we did which I think made it easier.  And food was a big one.  Being away doesn’t mean I want to resort to eating junk, but I do want fast, easy meals that are simple to prepare…

So here was my plan! (And note we are still vegetarian and continue to be on the last few weeks of dairy free eating.)

Dinner on the first night:  Vegan sausages with wine sauerkraut and raw veggies.

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The sausages were amazing, and being vegan, only needed reheating over the fire, so took less time than actual meat to cook.  Kids loved it!  And ate most of their sauerkraut separately.  The veggies were all pre-cut and ready to go, and made for great snacking while waiting for the sausages.  Also made for great morning and afternoon snacks through the camping adventures.  Fuel for our hike!

IMG_3073The next morning we started off right with pancakes and eggs.  Solution for this meal was the pre-made pancake better.  Put it in an old, washed, ketchup squeeze bottle and voila! No mess!  And less clean up.  The chocolate, coconut pancakes were a big hit and special camping treat.  Get the recipe here!  They were so good in fact, we ate before a picture could be taken.

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IMG_3090Watermelon rounded out our meal and filled our bellies!

We only brought a small pairing knife.  The easiest way to tackle a watermelon with a small knife is to cut it in half by slicing all the way around the melon (not through it like you would with a large knife)  Then cut it into quarters.  Once you have smaller pieces to work with you can cut slices, or as we did for small kids, cut off the peel and dice it so it could be eaten with a fork (less mess and bear bait).

Lunch was next was pre-made and canned soup.  Not real canning mind you – just enough to seal the jars so they could sit at the bottom of our waterlogged cooler and not get diluted.  This type of canning lasts long enough for camping and is a healthy and economic way to eat.  Soo good.  I used a family recipe favourite.

IMG_3058Then more snacking – raw veggies, watermelon and pretzels dipped in hummus.  I just love camping so!  Especially when everything is already prepared at our fingertips!

IMG_2378We were off to the nearby beach for the day.  And packed along homemade granola bars.  Homemade goodness (and fibre, omega 3s, seeds, protein and love!)

Our dinner was our “cheat” night.  And by that I mean we usually get treats on occasion.  It used to be only on weekends but now it’s even less than that.  So our treat was this meal.  And consisted of walking tacos.  I didn’t get a picture because I forgot.  Maybe it’s because I was so excited about the chips!  (I’m a savoury girl and salt fiend, as is my daughter.)  This meal met all my cravings!  Most people already know about it, but you don’t I’ll fill you in (because everybody should know about it!):  Cut the top off a small sized nacho chip bag (think halloween size), then fill with pre-diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce, cheese (in our case diaya – dairy free cheese), and taco meat (ground round sautéed in the camping pan with taco seasoning)  Dig a fork in and enjoy.  Hardly any dishes either.  Bonus!

Dessert was a camping go-to we could not go without.  It needs no explanation.

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If you are dairy free then you MUST buy the good chocolate with no dairy and waxy additives.  I think I might be dairy free forever if it means good chocolate in my life from now on!

IMG_3075Finally breakfast the following morning:  meet my homemade breakfast burritos.  They freeze well and heat up like magic over a campfire.  And are super tasty and loved by all.  The making of them takes love and a bit of time ahead of IMG_3065the trip, but it is well worth it.  First you diced up the vegetarian sausages (2 Tofurky italian sausages in this case) and dry fry (no oil) in a hot pan until sealed.  Then scramble the eggs until just not moist, adding neccisary salt and pepper.  Then dice the red potato up into 1/2″ cubes or smaller IMG_3070(think small hashbrowns!) Boil for 5-7 min until just cooked – do not over cook! Then drain off water and transfer to a hot pan and dry fry (no oil) until browned.  Basically you are taking the moisture out of the food just enough that it doesn’t make the tortillas soggy that you will wrap them in.  Don’t fret, we add cheese (or diaya – dairy free cheese) to reclaim the moisture and fat to enhance the flavours at the end.  Put all the just made hot fillings in the fridge for 1/2hr to an hour until cold.  Then wrap these babies up in tortillas adding about 2 tsp of cheese  (or dairy free substitute) per burrito to the mix.  Wrap in tin foil and either freeze or refrigerate until later use for campfire ready food.

So that was this weekend’s meal plan.  And what great meals they were!  I’m only sad that now we’re home and my magic trick of pulling meals out of a cooler, already prepared, is over.

 

 

 

Nooner

I’ve come to the realization that all I usually post is everything to do with dinner meal planning.   The truth is that most of our lunches are our dinners (leftovers from the night before.)  But what happens when there are no leftovers?  And yes, there are nights dinner is good, there are none.  Or when picnics are planned?  Or when I send my little one to preschool with lunch?

Here are a few of my lunch solutions.

IMG_2142Here is one that is a favourite…open faced sandwiches on full grain/seed bread.  Tomatoes and avocado with a bit of mayo and salt/pepper.  Of course paired with a quick green smoothie of banana, celery, spinach, apple and frozen berries.  This is a favourite of mine because it is filled with vitamins and nutrients, or rather I can fill my kids with vitamins and nutrients.  I’ve also begun adding hemp hearts and chia seeds to our smoothies.  They add iron and omega 3s to the mix.  The vitamin C in the tomatoes helps our bodies to absorb the iron from the hemp seeds and spinach.

The thing about nutrition, or eating nutritiously is: that I am constantly thinking about it.  And by constantly thinking about it and acting on it, I hope that in the end we will be better off.

Another favourite an quick meal go-to is:

IMG_2160Apple sage Field Roast sausages with peas and carrots.  By the time I took this photos the steamed carrots had been eaten (oops!)  You see they are a favourite in this household.  So much so that if I don’t eat mine pronto the kids demand what’s on my plate after finishing theirs.  The sodium level is a little bit high for the kids, so I limit their intake of this type of food, both in frequency and amount at a meal.  Once in a while we serve them on whole wheat sausage buns…but not often.  I realized when my daughter was just four and asked me what a hot dog was, that a replacement for a food that seems a part of childhood needed at least an explanation.  So here it is – our ‘hot dogs’.

For a picnic lunch sandwiches are our go to.

IMG_3027 IMG_3029Note the re-useable sandwich bags!  They are perfect and easy to clean afterwards.  This time we did hummus and tomato sandwiches and utilized leftover avocado pasta sauce (similar to guacamole).  So good!

Tricks for packing sandwiches:  we freeze the bread then make the sandwiches right before leave and place them in the cooler – keeps the sandwich fresh and yet has thawed by the time we eat it.  IMG_3026The other trick with any avocado based sandwich spread: putting a small layer of water overtop.  Yes it looks messy but it keeps the avocado from oxidizing and is easy to pour off and reapply when done.  I will agree with the kids on this one – brown avocado isn’t appetizing.

Next up we pack tons of fresh fruit and usually include a few bags of assorted nuts, soynuts, and seeds (like pumpkin or sunflower).  The kids love the variety and mom loves the nutrition.

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And the other big favourite of mine are soups.  Number one because they taste so amazing!  Number two because the kids also think they taste so amazing (and nutritionally they are!) And Number three because they are cheap! (okay the cheap part only works when you make them yourself.)  There is actually a number four here too…my husband isn’t a big fan of soup, therefor if I can get my soup fix at lunch he can have a dinner he likes.  Oh and Number five I can make it once and it easily feeds us for a week…I could keep counting.  Soup is just that good.  I have both summer recipes (gazpacho anyone?) and winter ones (which also work in the spring and fall, or less than hot summer days.)  My blood tends to run cold, so soup for me is a big hit through the year.  I will someday write a whole blog about all the soups I make.  Lentil, chickpea, veggie mix… but for the most part if I’m not making a soup from a recipe I wing it.  So I’ll need to write down some of my ingredients for you to try one.  A full soup blog post is in order on this one.  You’ll likely see it down the road.

chickpea soup

chickpea soup

lentil soup

lentil soup

white bean and kale soup

white bean and kale soup

And there you have a few of our family favourite lunch solutions when we aren’t eating leftovers!  I hope everyone is out enjoying this long weekend.

Now I am stepping into the sunshine!

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This week’s meal plan has me excited!  So many new things to try…and increasingly so many challenges.  I struggle when faced with new things.  And going no dairy was great for the first two weeks, but now that I am officially out of my comfort recipes (of which I don’t seem to have as many as I had thought which are no-dairy) I am throwing caution to the wind and trying out all sorts of new flavours.  Most of which happily seem to be going well.  So here’s the plan (and yes, I’m halfway through!)IMG_2049

  • IMG_2051Moo-Shu Veggie Salad wraps with peanuts.  Aren’t those little Boston lettuces to die for!  Almost too cute to eat, and add a wonderful texture to the warm cabbage wrap filling.  I basically stir fry a little bit of garlic, add one shredded head of red cabbage a few shredded carrots, two diced green onions until the mixuture softens.  Then I add a few tbsp of hoisin sauce (yes, store bought – oh shame) and one or two tbsp of tamari.  Stir in about 1/2 cup chopped peanuts and then serve in the wrapped lettuce.  (In the picture you see I had also made a wonderful cold soba noodle salad! Yum!  And substituted the red cabbage for green, but after having tried it prefer the original.)  This recipe was adapted from The Supermarket Vegan cookbook.
  • Pinto bean sloppy joes on whole wheat buns with maple coleslaw.  The kids LOVED this recipe also from the Supermarket Vegan book above.  I need to tweak it a little before I share it with you – the joes were a little too sweet in my opinion.  And goodness knows we already have enough sugar I am trying to cut out of our lives!
  • Tomato and Basil Pasta with cashew cream sauce
  • Black Eyed Peas with Collard Greens and brown rice.  This recipe also needs tweaking, hence me not sharing (sorry!) Too spicy for the kiddos…so once tweaked I will share away and give a spicy option for adults!
  • Chickin’ burgers and sweet potato fries (using Quorn brand veggie burgers) and of course a large salad.  I have also found that surprisingly I am not above daiya cheese.  And happily it’s a great substitute!  We may even give the fries a go on the BBQ, being a long weekend and all.IMG_1419
  • Chickpea Salad Sandwiches on whole wheat seeded bread.  Mostly because this week has been HOT and cooking is overrated on these 85+F days!
  • Avocado Pasta. Still haven’t tried out this recipe yet but I feel it will be a great addition to the week’s menu for the kids!   It’s also super fast and meets my ‘hot day’ meal criteria.

 

So that’s this week!  Happy Canada Day to all my fellow nationals.  And Happy July 4th to those around me currently.  Anywhere you are in the world I hope your week is great!

The No Dairy Diet

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And by diet I mean temporary lifestyle.  I’m trying this out for the next 6 weeks to give my system a break from certain inflammatory food.  And in the meantime it’s a good vegan experiment too!  I have even found a creamer substitute for my coffee.  It’s still not cream, but makes my coffee loveable and drinkable and still enjoyable.  Which in turn makes me happy.  Yeh for coconut creamer!

So here’s what I’ve been working on this past week:

  • Thai Cashew Quinoa Salad– perfect for the summer weather and filled with energizing protein (who doesn’t LOVE thai?)
  • IMG_2966Jumbo Stuffed Shells and Vegan cesear salad.  This appears to be a take on my tofu and spinach stuffed shells recipe…only it’s not at all and doesn’t contain parmesan like my recipe.  AND it tastes just as amazing.  I don’t even know how that is possible but it just is.  I planned on freezing half, and then we ate. it. all.
  • IMG_2409Thai Coconut Red Curry with added edemame.  Filled to the brim with veggies, and more veggies and THAI! I used red and green bell peppers, a sweet onion, edemame (about 2 cups!) broccoli and brown rice for our dinner.  And of course omitted the chicken, still a veggie girl over here!
  • IMG_2927Green “Pasta” Primavera.  This was a shocker.  Again, so amazing.  With all the new recipes I am testing I keep anticipating failure and yet I always am so pleasantly surprised.  But my poor husband ends up not getting leftovers for work.  These meals are just so great, they are gone by the end of the meal.  IMG_2929With this meal you make a sundried tomato pesto for the primavera; I doubled the recipe for that and froze it so the next time I make the meal my time is saved (and I don’t have to clean the food IMG_2928processor – bonus!) Bought a vegetable julienne tool (and spiral slicer) especially for this, and my many vegetable “pastas” to come!  I can’t wait to give it a go on kohlrabi – so refreshing for the summer.  My kids loved the carrot “pasta”!  The tool I bought was easy to use and ranked high in the ratings.  It also makes making vegetable pasta fast.  Way faster than the manual peeler type (and anything to make my life easier working with whole foods is a GO!)  You can find it on Amazon here if you are interested in expanding your kitchen helpers.
  • Spinach Lentil Bake.  My old go to, with love and comfort baked inside.  And enough leftovers for the sitter, kids and our night out to the baseball game!

Also this past week has been energized by the longest days of sunshine in the year.  Yeah for summer solstice! There just seems to be more energy in the air.  With that I am off to do a run!  Gotta make use of this vamped up energy.  And bonus that it helps me train for another upcoming race.

I love summer!

Oops!

I’ve fallen off the wagon.  Okay, more than that.  I fell off the horse and the wagon rolled on top of me!  But I’m back to this blog and I promise to do better – at least weekly.

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Why? You ask.  Well why not.  Life. Is. Busy.  I celebrated my 10 year wedding anniversary and went away on a fabulous (and also not-so-fabulous) vacation without kids.  And kids, my kids; well they are like the black holes of my space/time continuum. Not that it’s a bad thing.  I love actually living my life.  I’ve added more teaching karma yoga classes to my week, added going-to-yoga-classes (where someone else can stand at the front and give instruction – yeah!) And my garden. Sigh.  The never ending project of trying to turn my black thumb green.  And also now, just today I start my 6 week no dairy trial.

Yes. No more cheese. *Sad face*

Or cream in my coffee. *Exasperated look* This is the hardest part.  Did I mention I only drink one cup of coffee a day?

So I’m at a toss up as to discuss with you in the next 1/2 hour of writing time.  My deliberations include:

a) goodness in giving back to the world (cuz I added more FREE yoga classes to my backyard class! And boy does that feel amazing!) or

b) the endless battle with slugs and aphids and my anti-pesticide attitude. (My poor Hostas!) I could also get into a large rant about the ants living in my walls and currently attempting to randomly take up residence in my residence. Sigh. or

c) this week’s menu plan.  Which as of right now has one thing on it because all I can think about is everything I can’t make with cheese and how I will get through without cream in my coffee!  First world problems for sure.

Since I can’t decide I will go into a little of each.  So here it goes.  About 7 min on each topic, since I’ve spent the last bit of my 1/2 hour of free time trying to decide…

A) Karma

What you give to the world you get back (or there abouts).  I can’t speak more highly about everything I gain from giving away my yoga class.  The relationships that develop and my own inner sense of peace knowing that I am doing good in the word (or at the very least not doing harm for my hours of weekly yoga.)  Bliss.  Better yet, I’m reading a negotiation book currently.  The entire concept is to focus attention on what you can do for others, so they can in return give you what you need.  And I truly believe that if we all followed this mantra, everybody in the entire world would get what they need.  By giving so much of what you can, and what you are good at, other hearts open and give to everyone else.  Once a circle or community is established if we all continue to give freely of our gifts the egos would (in theory) all fall away and life would be perfect.  Right?

Did I mention I’m still allowed wine on my new dietary plan? (Or have you already guessed that by this point?) I’m sounding like a socialist.  Maybe deep down under I am.  Wine brings out the best?

And time. 7 minutes are past.  Well past.  I had to stop mid post to intervene a naked non-potty trained child from further running through my house.  Put him to bed.  And then there was laundry…so I hung up the wet and folded the dry and

Life.

But I will attempt to get through this one blog post.  It has been a month!

B) B is for bugs.

IMG_2821I’m at a constant battle within myself that the bugs of this earth make the soil and environment what it is. Which gives the rest of us food to nourish our bodies, and helps to enrich the soil so plants can grow, giving us fresh air to breath.  So they have just as much a right to be here as I do.  And given that it’s not up to me to take them out of this world.  But gosh darn it if I don’t get my panties in a twist when I can’t seem to keep the snails off my Hosta and the poor thing is looking like the swiss cheese I can’t cook with for the next 6 weeks!
I went outside to take a picture of the plant.  Then found another snail (5th today). So I snapped a picture of that (and promptly took it off the plant and relocated far away into my lawn).  Then noticed some random weeds trying in infiltrate the bed so I just pulled a few, and then a few more and then a few more.  The soil was just IMG_2822perfect for this right now, and one out of two kids were in bed, the other pre-occupied so I had a few moments to pull plants without “help”.

And time. Waaaay past 7 min. Snails, weeds,

Life.

Back to focus.

C) Menu plan.

I’ve been told to try 6 weeks dairy free to give my body a rest from certain inflammatory foods to give my system a rest.  Do I believe the whole inflammatory food? I’m still unsure.  More reading required (in all of my free time!)  But I do believe I can do anything for 6 weeks so here I go.  But sadly without the cream in my coffee. *Really sad face*

Sad panda face.

Right, back to focus.  The easiest thing to do is access my vegan cookbooks (which surprisingly encompass half of my food library.)

Today was Portabella Enchiladas.  I’ve given out the recipe on the blog before.  But this time I omitted the cheese, and put sliced avocado all over the top.  So good.  Day one down!

IMG_2117IMG_2122Tomorrow is a very simple meal.  Tofu dipped in Tamari and coated in nutritional yeast, then pan fried in coconut oil.  So yummy!  With a side of brown rice.  And in the leftover coconut oil in the pan, I will saute a massive amount of swiss chard, lightly salted.  My family loves this meal.  We just can’t get enough swiss chard.  And with it’s iron content, I’m a happy mommy who can sleep well at night knowing we won’t be iron deficient.

Then comes my staple Lentil Bean Dish.  Also a family favourite and posted on here previously. (Makes for faster blogging too!) Only this time I omit the cheese and will top it with a blend of steamed cauliflower/russet potato mash!  Creamy goodness!  Good as cheese? Only time will tell…

Tuesday will be a Cauliflower Curry  with rice.  And I’ll add a cup of red lentils to the cooking process and omit the paneer (indian cheese) I usually add.  Might even get wild and throw in some torn up spinach! I knew that I added dairy to about a meal a day, but I never realized how constantly it has because a part of our main meal.  It is a good thing to shake life up a bit.  Especially for me, who is at times stuck in my ways, and averse to anything different.  Tuesday is also shopping day.  Which means I have to meal plan for the entire week!

Wednesday is a new thai cashew salad.  On recommendation of a friend. Yum!  And then I fall back on the plan.  Which is to be made in the future.  If I haven’t already lost my marbles because I just can’t drink coffee without cream. I bought and started using a coconut creamer today.  Not. The. Same.

I am trying.

Times up.

In and Out.

IMG_2583

One thing that has struck me lately is how good it feels to move.  All movements in life.  It started with a run last week, where it felt amazing to be able to breath.

Stop and breath.  Or hold your breath until your face goes red (betcha haven’t done that since being a kid!) Then the rush as the oxygen explodes into your lungs and the red blood cells pick it up and transport it across your body.  Absolutely amazing.  And to think we carry this through with us the entire time we are living beings.  Conscious or not.  But adding consciousness to it takes it to a whole new level.  It takes everything and brings it into this moment.  I’ve never thought about it that way until now.  Even though that is how I’ve gotten through Every. Single. Hard. Part. of my life.

Seriously.  Every. Single. One.

The moment I was being robbed at knifepoint and tied with duct tape…focused on trying to slow my breathing (so I could breath…I think I was likely hyperventilating at the time.)

The panic attack underwater during SCUBA training.  No mask on, unable to see.  Breathing.  Once I realized I was still breathing, I could concentrate.  In. Out. In. Out. In. Out.  The only thing that mattered.

Labouring.  Or rather contractions.  Breathing through every single one.  It didn’t take the pain away, but focusing on the breath can seriously get you through anything.

CPR and NRP (neonatal resuscitation) training as a nurse. More breathing. And then putting those into practice in real life while on my honeymoon – I’m not sure who you breath more for after having been through it; yourself or the person you are trying to help.

And in yoga class.  When this last Sunday the entire class got through a 2 minute plank, just with breathing.  Focused effort on the breath.

It is everything.  Be in your moment.  Feel your breath.

You can get through anything.

You can do anything.

Start with breathing.

In and Out.